Rotterdam Photo Festival drops down on Willemsplein this February. Opening night is on the 9th and the festival runs through to 12 February, a part of Rotterdam Art Week 2023.

I’m excited to be a part of this year’s festival and will be showing new work and launching a new project, Oblivia. Learn more about my interpretation of the theme on the festival website.

Submerged broken umbrella in a canal in Amsterdam

Now I’m here

I walk. It’s meditation. It switches me on.

This on-ness relaxes me as I pilfer images, sometimes at a furious pace, gathering particulars about the place I find myself in. Eyes dart, furtively.

Like you, maybe, I’m trying to make sense of our world.

I’m confounded by much that I see. The mounting detritus that our unequal capitalist culture demands and forces upon us. Consumption fueled by feel-good marketing, underpinned by FOMO. Little matters other than our convenience and as we proliferate, production keeps pace.

Graffiti adds colour, the sometimes mean messages scrawled on walls.

What flows into our waterways? What is the effect it has on non-human life?

Data, in the hands of unseen others. The profit they take, the loss we make. Do we question who controls our freedom? Do we care? • Expect disappointment. 

While oblivion can be defined as being unaware or unconscious of what is happening, it’s more an ignoring of it. We’re often aware, we just choose to consider a problem too difficult to tackle, or decide that no matter what we do, we won’t have an effect. But it’s when we take up the fight that we discover what freedom, redefined or not, is.